No. 9 Penn State Sweeps No. 21 Michigan in Three Set Win

Story posted October 23, 2011 in Sports, CommRadio by Tyler Ainge

The ninth ranked Penn State women’s volleyball team (15-5, 8-2 Big Ten) won a hard fought three set match (25-22, 25-21, 25-23) against 21st ranked Michigan (15-7, 3-7 Big Ten) Saturday night at Rec Hall.

Penn State’s win extends their win streak to four matches this season and they have now won the last 18 matches against Michigan. The atmosphere was electric as usual in Rec Hall, with the crowd understanding the importance of this Big Ten match up.

“I was very appreciative of the great crowd tonight, especially since we were going opposite Penn State football,” said Penn State head coach Russ Rose. “The band was great like always at creating a loud environment.”

The first set was a back-and-forth battle. A dominating spike by Katie Slay gave Penn State their first lead at 10-9. A solid stretch by Nia Grant and Ariel Scott allowed Penn State to extend the lead to four before a run by Michigan tied the set 18-18.

After a timeout, Slay stepped up, delivering two kills and a block en route to a 21-18 lead. Michigan rattled off four straight points to take a 22-21 lead, but a Scott kill and two Michigan errors gave Penn State set point. Ali Longo sealed the deal with an ace, giving Penn State a 25-22 first set win.

The Nittany Lions would jump out to an early 4-1 lead in the second set and never look back. A short run by Michigan left set point at 24-21, but a service ace from McClendon ended things. McClendon was the star of that set, with two aces and four kills.

“It was good to be up 2-0 at home against a good team,” Scott said. “It’s what we needed to do, being at home.”

The first two sets were closer than she would have preferred, however.

“We weren’t so happy because of all of our errors,” Scott said.

Michigan took the early lead in the third set before a Penn State run was capped with a Maddie Martin block to give the Lions their first lead at 5-4. The teams would trade the lead before a 4-0 run by Michigan gave them their biggest set lead at 12-8.

Penn State would eventually tie it 19-19 on the back of strong play from Slay, Grant and Scott. It would again be tied 23-23 before kills by Slay and Scott finished the set and the match.

Both Scott and Grant reached double digits in kills for the match. Slay also contributed, leading the match with a .562 hitting percentage.

Rose has mixed feelings about his team going into the rest of the schedule.

“I haven’t been confident all year,” Rose said. “We finished the first half of the Big Ten schedule well. We’re young and we’re getting better in some areas and floundering in others.”

Penn State plays again on October 28th at home against Iowa. The match is set to start at 7 p.m. and will be broadcast live from Rec Hall on ComRadio.

Tyler Ainge is a sophomore majoring in Broadcast Journalism. To contact him, email tja5114@psu.edu.